I had a wonderful conversation with my friend the other day. She had engaged in a playful exchange with a new friend and was asked, “Do you have any powers?” It was a wonderful question! What a cool way to find out about a person. Rather than the usual laundry list that doesn’t usually divulge who we really are, like where do you work, or what do you like to do? This was a non-threatening way to decide how much to reveal (or not to reveal) about her authentic self.
After my friend responded to the question, she asked her new friend, “What’s on Your Cape? As she and I continued our conversation, before hanging up, she asked me the same question. I told her I knew what many of my super-powers were and that I would draw her a picture and send it to her the next morning.
Before I went to sleep, I thought about my super-powers. I have a great sense of humor about them, but for a few moments, I paused and really thought about why I am so honed in on certain things. Without judgment, I knew that many things I consider my super-powers are the effects of my trauma and manifest as part of my PTSD symptoms.
I can read non-verbals really well. I look for “tells” in people. I look for that moment when they perhaps will strike, or if their eyes change, forehead creases, and for changes in expression. I look at body language. I listen with more than my ears.
“Listening with more than my ears,” is a very good communication skill, and I would like to say that it’s because I am such a good listener and always fully present; hearing what people say, without thinking ahead of how I’m going to reply. If I’m being completely honest, it’s a vestige of having to be aware of my perpetrator’s next move. But, also, I give myself a break and acknowledge if I know you, and trust you, I am listening and trying to be fully present. So, okay…I’m wearing that on my cape.
When I walk into a public place, I immediately check to see where all the exits are, who is sitting where, and if I sit down, I place myself where I can see the door. Sometimes my friends notice and I laughingly say, “I’m just making sure you are safe.” That statement in itself is enough to raise eyebrows. The reason I really do that is my hyper-vigilance.
I know where I am spacially. It’s not very often, that I will say, “Oh, I didn’t see you there.” I am hyper-aware of who is standing where and what is happening around me.
This is a very truncated list, and I would include my ability to be extremely non-judgemental of most people, compassionate, and empathetic. These are proudly stitched in sparkly gold on my purple cape. But I found it extremely interesting that the four or five “powers” that felt the most comfortable and comforting were the ones that are no longer useful for me to employ. And yet I depend on them and find solace in saying, that they are my “super-powers.”
So without judgment of yourself…What is on Your Cape?
Thank you for reading my new book, If I Could Tell You How It Feels, available in both ebook and paperback from Amazon.